Yoshimi Kawashima

Yoshimi Kawashima is currently a sophomore at University of California, Los Angeles, majoring in East Asian Studies, with a concentration in Japan. She is also the current secretary for UCLA's Nikkei Student Union and wants to familiarize herself with the Japanese American culture and community.

Updated August 2009

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Conceiving the Notion of “Japanese” through Language

Entertainment and media are meant to appeal to a wide audience and superficially anime are just that: they're cartoons.  Some of them are ridiculously cheesy; some are so easily predictable it’s almost laughable. But oftentimes it is the whimsical and seemingly impractical things our imaginations whip up that reveal the subtle hints about a culture; and that satire brings to light facets of a culture that we tend to overlook.  At first I brushed off these animations as just a show, but it's fascinating to see the deeper meanings that underlie the impossible action and the fantastical ...

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The Next Generation: The UCLA Nikkei Student Union

Aside from all the great events that were offered and the memories created in the Nikkei Student Union during my freshman year, I will never forget what ran across my mind when I attended the first meeting: I have never seen SO MANY Nikkei before in my life. 

Established in 1981, the Nikkei Student Union (NSU) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a student group that places emphasis on raising awareness about the Japanese American culture. Though NSU is a Japanese American based club, many of its members are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, welcoming and connecting individuals ...

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Don Nakanishi: The Roots of an Asian American Studies Visionary

After 20 years as director of the University of California, Los Angeles’ Asian American Studies Center (AASC), Professor Don Nakanishi retired from his tenure in July 2009. A dedicated and visionary leader, Professor Nakanishi has made instrumental changes in making the AASC flourish into the nation’s premier research center in its field.

Advancing the Asian American Studies (AAS) field in breadth and depth, Don Nakanishi has proven himself as a distinguished scholar, teacher and activist for Asian Americans. Receiving his B.A. in Intense Political Science at Yale in 1971 and completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at ...

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A Token of Remembrance: Passing It On by Yuri Kochiyama

In 1998, then seventy-seven year old Yuri Kochiyama began writing her memoir, after years of contemplating what to leave her grandchildren in remembrance of their family’s heritage.  Whatever path they, or anyone who reads this memoir, choose to take, Yuri believes that, at the very least, one should be aware of their history.

“To live a life without losing faith in God, my fellowmen, and my country…To love everyone; to never know the meaning of hate, or have one enemy…An enemy, to me, is only created in one’s mind.”

Through these words emanate the strength and ...

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How Japanese is Japanese-American?

Are you Japanese?  Do you speak Japanese? You look Japanese.  Isn't your name Japanese?  These are questions that I have heard all of my life, and at times I felt that they tried too hard to constrict me into a nice neat mold.  I felt like the abstract block trying to fit into the perfectly round hole, and with each response I gave, I felt as though the mold laid out for me was one that I could never fit in.

I was born in Southern California, and I am a second generation Japanese American.  My parents were both ...

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